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Saint Mary's College Mission Statement

Mission BookletFounded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1844, Saint Mary’s College promotes a life of intellectual vigor, aesthetic appreciation, religious sensibility, and social responsibility. Saint Mary’s is a Catholic, residential, women’s, liberal arts college offering undergraduate degrees and co-educational graduate programs.

A pioneer in the education of women, the College fosters an inclusive, academic community where students discover and develop their talents as they prepare to make a difference in the world.  All members of the College contribute to this mission in their response to the complex needs and challenges of contemporary life.

Statement of Philosophy and Purpose

Student Speakiong

As a center of higher education, Saint Mary’s fosters an academic climate of scholarship and learning for faculty and students alike. Through excellence in teaching and the example of its own active scholarship, the faculty challenges students to expand their horizons and supports them in their intellectual pursuits. A broad-based course of study invites students to think critically and creatively about the natural world and human culture. Acknowledging the need to prepare women for an array of careers, the College insists on a liberal arts foundation for all its students. Through their years at Saint Mary’s, students acquire depth and breadth of knowledge, competence in quantitative skills and modern languages, the ability to think clearly about complex problems, and the capacity to communicate with precision and style.

As a Catholic college, Saint Mary’s cultivates a community of intellectual inquiry, liturgical prayer, and social action. The College creates an open forum in which students freely and critically study the rich heritage of the Catholic tradition, raising the questions necessary to develop a mature religious life. The celebration of liturgy encourages students to explore the fullness of life and its mysteries. The College nurtures awareness and compassion for a troubled world and challenges students to promote human dignity throughout their lives. In preparing women for roles of leadership and action, Saint Mary’s pays particular attention to the rights and responsibilities of women in the worlds of work, church, community, and family.

Dedicated to the personal and social growth of its students, Saint Mary’s cultivates a community of students, faculty, and staff, which responds to the needs of women. In order to offer the richest educational experience possible, the College strives to bring together women of different nations, cultures, and races. It provides a residential environment where women grow in their appreciation of the strengths and needs of others. Through a host of co-curricular programs on campus and in the local community, Saint Mary’s initiates students in the habits of civic responsibility. Engaging in all aspects of the college experience, students acquire the hallmarks of a liberally educated woman: keen self-knowledge, lively imagination, lifelong intellectual and cultural interests, and the ability to make socially responsible choices about the future.

Core Values


We commit ourselves to academic excellence and foster an environment where all members of the community learn with and from each other. The liberal arts form the foundation for learning.

The value of Learning encourages us to become a community of learners. It directs us to plan creatively for education that meets the needs of a changing pluralistic society. A learning community engages in a wide variety of critical perspectives in its ongoing search for truth. The diversity of the individuals that comprise a learning community provides our students with a wide range of human experiences and relationships.


We sustain a vital community where each member is valued and where all are bound by a common purpose. In an atmosphere of mutual respect, we are called to share responsibility for the success of the College's mission.

The value of Community helps us to create an authentic community within society. This community is formed by individuals who understand, honor, and celebrate diversity as a necessary prerequisite to unity. It is this unity that leads the community toward a common vision and the fulfillment of the College's mission.


We commit ourselves to meeting the spiritual needs of members of all faith traditions. We encourage and support members as they grow spiritually and as they lead lives of faith.

The value of Faith/Spirituality strengthens us to be intentional in providing an environment in which community members can live out their personal spiritual journey. This becomes a basis for integration of the spiritual and intellectual lives of the College community.


We respect all persons because of their God-given dignity. We act as responsible stewards of resources both on and be-yond the campus. We advocate social action and practice principles of justice and compassion.

The value of Justice challenges us to reaffirm our commitment to overcome prejudice and change systems that oppress. Justice also challenges the College to continue to develop programs which affirm human dignity in the workplace. It invites us to make an active commitment to diversity.

Guides for Living the Core Values and Mission

Learning * Community * Faith/Spirituality * Justice

These interrelated values guide the College community in fulfilling its mission. Each member of the Saint Mary's College community shares responsibility for the mission and core values by performing her/his specific role in the best way possible. In addition, members:

Demonstrate the college's commitment to women's education by:

  • Making themselves aware of women's issues and letting that awareness inform their actions
  • Using language that is inclusive and reflects sensitivity to women
  • Being alert and responsive to programming, curriculum and policies that reflect women's interests and accomplishments
  • Instilling confidence in students and preparing them for responsible roles in Church and society

Contribute to the quality of education by:

  • Fostering an academic climate of scholarship and learning for students, faculty and staff
  • Being familiar with and committed to the Liberal Arts and the Sophia Program for Liberal Learning which are a foundation of study at the College
  • Recognizing and honoring outstanding achievement by any member of the community
  • Supporting and participating in opportunities that enhance personal and professional growth

Demonstrate a commitment to community by:

  • Responding respectfully to all community members and valuing differing opinions
  • Supporting and participating in college events, functions and committees beyond one's designated role
  • Helping implement policies of racial and ethnic diversity on campus Engaging in regular, open communication and dialogue throughout the institution
  • Being familiar with the heritage and mission of the College
  • Practicing hospitality

Live out the religious dimension by:

  • Fostering a spirit-centered atmosphere conducive to prayer, development of a relationship with God and attainment of authentic self-knowledge
  • Encouraging gospel-based service opportunities for members of the campus community and taking part in these when possible
  • Supporting and participating in events and experiences that enhance the development of one's spiritual self
  • Upholding the Catholic identity of the College while welcoming the diversity of faith traditions

Contribute to a caring environment by:

  • Utilizing the Catholic social teachings as a basis for decision-making at every level
  • Being responsible and accountable for the stewardship of human, financial and environmental resources
  • Promoting an appreciation of cultural and individual differences within the college community
  • Assisting in implementation of policies and procedures which are non-discriminatory, equitable, and respect the dignity of each individual

Land Acknowledgement

We wish to acknowledge and honor the Native people and their traditional homelands on which we stand.
We particularly recognize the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and the Miami, who have been utilizing this land and its resources for many years and continue to do so today.
With deep gratitude we acknowledge the Native people and their culture within our community as well as acknowledging the land upon which we gather, pray, learn and work.